[Lloyd Pearson, The Baltimore Sun]
Hurricane Agnes smashed into the Florida panhandle on June 20, 1972, with 80-mph winds and accompanying heavy rains and raging seas. With winds dropping back to tropical storm level, the storm then set its sight on Maryland and the East Coast.
The full force of the storm was unleashed on Maryland two days later.
“At least 10 persons were reported dead or missing and thousands were forced from their homes as heavy rains caused widespread flooding throughout central parts of the state,” reported The Evening Sun.
For a time June 22, it was feared the 111-year-old dam at Lake Roland might give way, thus sending a wall of water 10 to 12 feet roaring down the Jones Falls Valley and into Baltimore. As a precaution, Mayor William Donald Schaefer ordered the valley to be evacuated.
The Gwynns Falls crested at 8 to 10 feet, sending floodwaters swirling into Milford Mill and Windsor Mill roads and inundating homes. The Jones Falls Expressway was closed and Amtrak trains between Washington, New York and Boston were delayed for hours because of floodwaters.
Near Ellicott City, the raging waters of the Patapsco River washed away 10 miles of Baltimore & Ohio track and stranded a freight train.
All 50 floodgates of the Conowingo Dam on the Susquehanna River were opened, for the first time since the flood of 1936, as flood waters surged through Port Deposit and Havre de Grace.
The United States Weather Service reported that torrential rains had dumped 6.61 inches of rain on College Park; Baltimore, 7.86; Towson, 3.50; Pikesville, 7.88; and Salisbury, 3.10.
In its wake, Agnes left $62 million in damages and 21 dead in Maryland. Overall deaths from the storm reached 122, and Agnes set Northeast inland flood records and caused $3.2 billion in property damage.